NEPD Editor: James Christensen
NEPD is scouting from the press box in Ames today, watching the Iowa State Cyclones try and pull an upset against the Oklahoma Sooners.
Top Iowa State prospect Jake Knott is out today with a shoulder injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year, but Cyclone linebacker A.J. Klein and the Oklahoma defensive backfield will be getting a lot of looks from teams in the 2013 NFL Draft.
NFL Scouts from the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings are in attendance here at Jack Trice stadium.
#1 SAF Tony Jefferson*
-Lining up as strong safety.
-Accelerates quickly and sticks with slot receiver on in route.
-Breaks down in space and makes solid tackle on running back for no gain.
-Playing single-high, breaks on the ball early.
-Playing up to 25 yards off the ball at times.
-Covering deep half, manned up on slot, in the box – very versatile.
-Walks into the box, doubles slot receiver while spying QB.
-Misses tackle in space, couldn’t change direction at full speed.
-Reads QB draw, fills and makes the tackle.
-Good angle to the ball, but needs to stay on his feet and wrap up rather than dive.
-Closes on underneath route with great speed and makes violent tackle.
-Fills from deep safety position, breaks down in space and wraps up.
-Big hit, knocks ball out of receiver’s hands – closed quickly with perfect angle.
-Changes from pedal to drive to pedal effortlessly – pretty to watch.
-Monster hit on receiver, causes him to bobble and ultimately drop the ball.
-Read QB draw before the ball was even snapped.
-Seals the game with an easy interception.
Jefferson talked to me after the game about how he prefers to play in the box, but he showed the ability to cover a deep half and play a single high safety today as well. His change of direction ability, hard hits and good angles to the ball bode well for his NFL future.
#14 CB Aaron Colvin*
-Lining up at right cornerback.
-Showing good skills in press.
-Stumbles in man, allows man to get wide open on slant.
-Flagged for interference, didn’t track the ball down the field.
-Comes on corner blitz, good timing and is able to effect the throw.
-Blown off the line by block by tight end.
-Loses ball on reverse, laid down rather than trying to make a tackle.
-Called for holding and interference, still gives up the catch.
This wasn’t one of Colvin’s best games. He had trouble finding the ball at times and was too physical down the field with receivers. With another year at Oklahoma, Colvin could develop into a top prospect at corner.
#6 CB Demontre Hurst
-Lining up at left cornerack.
-Also seeing some time on special teams.
-Press man, easily runs with receiver down the field.
-Playing off man coverage on the field side, press on the boundary.
-In phase on vertical route, didn’t locate the ball but disrupted back shoulder catch.
-Draped all over receiver on comeback route.
-Closes quickly on short hitch, solid tackle – was giving up a big cushion.
-Whiffs on tackle after giving up catch on curl.
Hurst looked fundamentally sound and didn’t made a mistake other than one missed tackle. He should be a solid 2nd/3rd cornerback in the NFL and will probably be a mid-round pick.
#4 WR Kenny Stills*
-Lining up almost exclusively as left outside receiver.
-Willing to throw a block downfield.
-Quick hitch, makes the first guy miss and picks up some good YAC.
-Can’t separate on vertical route after beating initial press.
-Finds soft spot in zone, curls open and snags the ball.
-Coming off the field in a lot of situations.
-Sells double move well, undercut by safety and ball is picked off.
-Gets away with a push-off, goes up and high-points the ball for a touchdown – nice body control in the air.
-Sustained block down the field on screen.
-Able to secure ball with corner on his back.
-Misjudged deep ball, could have had a big gain but stopped short.
-Easy catch on out route, corner giving him a big cushion.
-Locates the ball on back-shoulder fade and is able to stop, turn and snag the ball for a TD.
Stills was his fiery self, showing his ability to go up and get the ball in tight spots and create separation with tight cuts underneath. He showed some physicality in the game as well, but downplayed it afterwards.
Landry Jones was his normal consistently inconsistent self. When he had time to step up and throw, he was accurate and made great decisions. When he had some pressure, things started to break down.
Iowa State Cyclones
#47 LB A.J. Klein
-Team captain along with injured teammate Jake Knott.
-Lining up at inside linebacker – takes charge of the defense, coach on the field.
-Reads quarterback’s eyes, makes him pull ball down.
-Fills hole quickly, read the play immediately.
-Walked out on slot receiver, reads pattern and releases deep receiver.
-A bit late on blitz, shielded away easily by running back.
-Chases down Stills with good angle, handling up-tempo offense well.
-Disciplined, doesn’t chase away from his assignment.
-Stacks the lineman, sets a hard edge and turns the play back inside.
-Consistent with his run fits – fundamentally sound.
-Sidesteps block from guard, stands up RB and makes the tackle.
-Pattern reading in zone coverage, able to disrupt the catch after passing off receiver.
-Blitzes A-gap, sidesteps one blocker but is blocked by RB.
-Can’t break down in space, misses tackle on swing pass to RB.
-Good timing and showed some burst coming on outside blitz, forced the QB to climb.
-Bit on the play-action, opened up big window to throw into.
-Takes on the fullback, blows things open for his teammates to clean up the running back.
-Banged out of hole by pulling guard.
Even without teammate Jake Knott, Klein was as consistent as ever. He isn’t an elite athlete, but he makes up for it with his quick reads and play diagnosis abilities. He will be a solid pickup in the 3rd or 4th rounds this April.
#19 WR Josh Lenz
-Lining up at multiple receiver positions.
-Nice slant route, but stone cold drops it – wide open.
-Gets open underneath but can’t hang on after he is banged down by multiple defenders.
The Iowa State receiving corps wasn’t exactly impressive, Lenz included. They gave quarterback Steele Jantz little help, seemingly dropping balls for fun.
Defensive tackle Jake McDonough had another good game against a talented Oklahoma interior line. He might not be picked until the 6th or 7th round in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he will be a solid rotational lineman at the next level.